34 The results of the ESP experiments have provided the statistical basis for evaluating the phenomenon of synchronicity, and at the same time have pointed out the important part played by the psychic factor.
This fact prompted me to ask whether it would not be possible to find a method which would on the one hand demonstrate the existence of synchronicity and, on the other hand, disclose psychic contents which would at least give us a clue to the nature of the psychic factor involved. I ask myself, in other words whether there were not a method which would yield measurable results and at the same time give us an insight into the psychic background of synchronicity.
34 That there are certain essential psychic conditions for synchronistic phenomena we have already seen from the ESP experiments, although the latter are in the nature of the case restricted to the fact of coincidence and only stress it psychic background without illuminating it any further. I had known for a long time that there were intuitive or “mantic” methods which start with the psychic factor and take the existence of synchronicity as self-evident. I therefore turned my attention first of all to the intuitive technique for grasping the total situation which is so characteristic of China, namely the I Ching or Book of Changes.Unlike the Greek-trained Western mind, the Chinese mind does not aim at grasping details for their own sake, but at a view which sees the detail as part of a whole. For obvious reasons, a cognitive operation of this kind is impossible to the unaided intellect.
35 Judgement must therefore rely much more on the irrational functions of consciousness, that is on sensation (the “sense du reel”) and intuition (perception by means of subliminal contents).
The I Ching, which we can well call the experimental foundation of classical Chinese philosophy, is one of the oldest known methods for grasping a situation as a whole and thus placing the detail against the cosmic background - the interplay of Yin and Yang.
Boe: Number - Zero
40 Mantic procedures: The method best adapted to the nature of chance is the numerical method. Since the remotest times men have used numbers to establish meaningful coincidences, that is, coincidences that can be interpreted.
There is something peculiar, one might even say mysterious, about numbers. They have never been entirely robbed of their numinous aura. If, so a textbook of mathematics tells us, a group of objects is deprived of every single one of its properties or characteristics there still remains, at the end, it's number, which seems to indicate that number is something irreducible.
(I am not concerned here with the logic of this mathematical argument, but only with it is psychology!) The sequence of natural numbers turns out to be unexpectedly more than the mere stringing together of identical units: it contains the whole of mathematics and everything yet to be discovered in this field.
Number, therefore, is in one sense an unpredictable entity.
The most elementary quality about an object is whether it is one or many. Number helps more than anything else to bring order into the chaos of appearances. It is the predestined instrument for creating order, or for apprehending an already existing, but still unknown, regular rearrangement or “orderedness”.
It may well be the most primitive element of order in the human mind, seeing that the numbers 1 to 4 occurred with the greatest frequency and have the widest incidence. In other words, primitive patterns of order are mostly triads or tetrads. That numbers have an archetypal foundation is not, by the way, the conjecture of mine but of certain mathematicians. Hence it is not such an audacious conclusion after all if we define number psychologically as an archetype of order which has become conscious.
Boe: an archetype of order which has become conscious.
41 Remarkably enough, the psychic images of wholeness which spontaneously produced by the unconscious, the symbols of the self in mandala form, also have a mathematical structure.
They are as a rule quaternities (although multiples). These structures not only express order, they also create it. That is why they generally appear in times of psychic disorientation in order to compensate a chaotic state or as formulations of numinous experiences.
It must be emphasised yet again that they are not inventions of the conscious mind but spontaneous products of the unconscious, as has been sufficiently shown by experience. Naturally the conscious mind can imitate these patterns of order, but such imitations do not prove that the originals are conscious inventions. From this it follows irrefutably that the unconscious uses number as an ordering factor.
It is generally believed that numbers were invented or thought out by man, and therefore nothing but concepts of quantities, containing nothing that was not previously put into them by the human intellect. But it is equally possible that numbers were found or discovered. In that case they are not only concepts but something more - autonomous entities which somehow contain more than just quantities.
Unlike concepts, they are based not on any psychic conditions but on the quality of being themselves, on a “so-ness” that cannot be expressed by an intellectual concept. Under these conditions they might easily be endowed with the qualities that have still to be discovered.
I must confess that I inclined to the view that numbers were as much found as invented, and that in consequence they possess a relative autonomy analogous to that of the archetypes. They would then have, in common with the latter, the quality of being preexistent to consciousness, and hence, on occasion, of conditioning it rather than being conditioned by it. The archetypes too, as a priori forms of representation, are as much found as invented: they are discovered in as much as one did not know of their unconscious autonomous existence, and invented in as much as their presence was inferred from analogous representational structures. Accordingly it would seem that natural numbers have an archetypal character.